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Creating Extra Time for Student Support in Extension Classes

All 6th graders and some 7th graders have an extra class period for personalized support in math and ELA

Context

Cisco Junior High School provides extended learning time with an extra period each day, called Extension class. Class periods take up only 45 minutes, which makes it challenging to support every student individually. Extension classes help alleviate this challenge by creating additional time and opportunities for students and teachers to connect over their content. Extension classes are provided to all students in 6th grade and students identified as needing extra support in 7th grade (e.g., RTI, low STAAR test results).

Extension classes create additional opportunities for Cisco to support its students in their areas of need. Students in 6th grade Extension classes alternate weeks between math and ELA, spending one week in math and the next week in ELA. These classes happen during the same period so teachers will have the same students for one week, then different ones the next. There is flexibility within this structure, however, as students struggling with a particular math concept could spend part of their ELA time in math Extension and vice versa. Content teachers staff the Extension classes, so a student will have the same teacher for math and for math Extension. Extension students in 7th grade have the same teacher for both subjects and switch between them as needed. This allows teachers to identify common areas of struggle and loosely plan the week. For example, a teacher might incorporate a short mini-lesson (approximately 10 minutes) or plan activities around a common challenge area to help students review it.

Extension classes are more flexible than core content classes, providing teachers with more opportunities to personalize teaching and learning. Students who have proficiency gaps from previous grades can work to fill them during this time, while still being exposed to grade-level content and not falling further behind. It also creates additional time for students and teachers to meet and discuss their progress and any possible modifications that could be made to help them. For example, a teacher may do individual coaching, pull small groups, or prompt students to work through online content, depending on their progress, learning preferences, and instructional needs.

Student Does

  • Attends Extension class.
  • Participates in direct instruction or short review activities when planned.
  • Meets with teacher to discuss progress.
  • Works to fill their skill gaps, progress through content they may be struggling with, or extend learning if they are ahead of pace.

Teacher Does

  • Plans short reviews based on class data and instructional need.
  • Frequently meets with students to review goals and monitor progress.
  • Provides direct support through modifications to their instruction.

Technology Does

  • Houses data teachers and students can use to make teaching and learning decisions.
  • Provides online content to support students or allow them to move ahead as needed.

Strategy Resources